Category Archives: Food

Anything about food but the emphasis in on organics. If you grow it then you must like eating it!

Ocado invest £17m in ‘vertical farming’

An article in The Guardian today says that Ocado have bought into a ‘vertical farming.’ They are already claiming that it is pesticide free and sustainable.

This is nothing new, the idea has been around for years and was once known as hydroponics where plants are grown in soil less systems. The roots can be contained in blocks of inert media like rock wool or just dangle into water filled troughs.

The ‘vertical farm’ uses trays of plants with lighting above them. The lights used to be energy hungry, but the advent of LEDs has reduced the energy requirement. That is probably where the sustainability claim originates.

What the investors will not tell you is that plants need nutrients to grow, In conventional growing nutrients come from soil. In hydroponics they have to be dissolved in water.

The basic plant food is NPK, nitrogen, phosphorous and potassium. These can only be supplied by using artificial fertilizer manufactured in chemical plants. Phosphorus is mined and there are many reports of the devastation this has caused. There is also grave concern about how shortages of phosphorus “could leave us all hungry” 

Artificial fertilizers require huge amounts of energy and raw material from around the world which cannot, by any stretch of the imagination be considered as sustainable.

Soil contains many micronutrients that are impossible to synthesize in an artificial form. Some hydroponic enthusiasts will tell you they include micronutrients in their mixes, but it is not as simple as adding a few more chemicals.

The only place to grow food is in well managed soil. Making artificial food factories might look attractive, especially to investors, but it is not the way forward and looks like another quick techno fix to a complex issue. So, why do it? As Ocado say, they are looking for big returns.

 

An easy way to reduce CO2 and save money!

This article in the Washington Post spells out how each and everyone of us can reduce CO2 emissions and pollution AND SAVE MONEY by not wasting food!

“If food waste were a country, it would come in third after the United States and China in terms of impact on global warming.”

Now consider how you can stop this happening. It is not hard, we can all start now, TODAY.

I would add that in the last resort compost it at home and add to the veg plot. We treat any food waste as organic gold dust, peelings, skins, tops removed from onions & leeks, apple cores. They all go into the compost bin.

Trent Cummings processes food waste to create compost in Washington, D.C. (Salwan Georges/The Washington Post)

Meat free Monday

The mere thought of not eating meat for just one day will be too much for some but wait, veggie/vegan food be fun and cheap! See this page for a tasty and cheap chick pea curry.

Here is another variation, Sweet potato and chickpea surprise.

Sustainable food growing is crucial for long term security especially in times of uncertainty due to global heating. If you grow it then you need to know how to cook it. That is why we are always pleased to share recipes.

How supermarkets create food waste from field to table

The article is full of information about waste in the supermarket food chain. What is surprising is that a lot of waste comes from farmers over producing for fear of not being able to supply.

Riverford founder Guy Singh-Watson has openly spoken about his experiences in the 90s: “When I used to supply the supermarkets you generally grew about a third more than you thought you would sell, just to make sure that the supermarket buyer didn’t have a tantrum if you ran short, and so routinely, you have more than you can sell and so you just mow it off and plough it in – that’s the normal thing to do.”

The overriding issue is how supermarkets have come to dictate the whole agricultural industry.

See the article here on the Wicked Leaks web site

 

Organic outperforms conventional agriculture

Just to show that all the misguided hype about how we need huge inputs of fertiliser, pesticides and GM is just that, hype from the vested interest of the huge agrochemical companies that make a profit out of fear.

And organic gardening probably outperforms conventional food gardening. See this link to out own trials.

From: “Kiss the Ground: How the Food You Eat Can Reverse Climate Change, Heal Your Body & Ultimately Save Our World” 2018, Kindle edition, p.138.

Intensive farming produces less nutritious food

A recent article in Scientific American provides more evidence that intensive agricultural methods produce less nutritious food. In the UK food is bought on price, the cheaper the better. This has driven farmers into a corner because supermarkets demand the cheapest possible food. There must be an impact on human health from consuming food with less with nutrients and more pesticides.

“…it is true that fruits and vegetables grown decades ago were much richer in vitamins and minerals than the varieties most of us get today. The main culprit in this disturbing nutritional trend is soil depletion: Modern intensive agricultural methods have stripped increasing amounts of nutrients from the soil in which the food we eat grows.”

In the UK a long terms study by government scientists came to exactly the same conclusions , that the mineral content in food had decreased by 70% over 50 years.

It is easy to remineralise soil  we will be doing that in our new garden, more information and photos to follow very soon.